December 30, 2010

"The hydrogen Raga": another old interview with Glen Sweeney (1988).

One of the first Italian interview with the Thirds was made in 1988, just after the first tour (Bergamo and Umbertide). It was pubblished by the rock magazine "Rockerilla" (issue 99, November 1988).
With a biographical, full of commonplaces and quite boring stuff written by Italian journalist Vittore Baroni (title: "The hydrogen Raga"), came this interview with Glen Sweeney made by myself (under the name of my wife Elena Blasi). Another little contribution to set up the knotty puzzle of TEB's history.

EB: "First of all: how do you feel about the reaction of audience at the Bergamo and Perugia gigs?"
GS: "Well, twenty years ago drugs conditioned the concerts, today the approach is quite different. Anyway, the fact is that in Bergamo the audience was really well-disposed with us and surprisingly open to our music; promoter Luigi Bresciani has done a great work, making the things worked on. Instead, at the Perugia gig people came just for listening to very different groups and everything was just a guys drinking and eating all the time... It dipends, you know, by the way the people 'feel' our music: we're not cold and unfeeling machines made to entertain the listeners... We play with soul, yes, with soul and spirit..."

EB: "If I'm not wrong, "Spirits" is just the title of a your new composition..."
GS: "Yes, right, even if the track will be titled "Ghosts" on the new record... Spirits, in this case, as misterious,  supernatural higher entity. The essence of material life...".

EB: "So, you'll produce a new album, after about fifteen years from the "Macbeth" soundtrack!".
GS: "Yes, it'll be one of the many things involving the new Third Ear Band... Maybe it's too soon to talk about, but Materiali Sonori is agreed to produce a record, as like for a live album that will be published first, until this year..."

EB: "A live record...?"
GS: "Yes, it's been an idea of Luca Ferrari, our manager, that in agreement with the Bergamo gig's promoter decided to record professionally the concert... It came a great thing, really exiciting... So, at the end of the concert, listening to the reels, we decided to realise it..."

EB: "What about the other things you was talking about?"
GS: "Just after the two gigs we've formed The Ear Management, not a pretentious thing, you know, just a practical way to coordinate better the things. On December we'll managing a new tour, maybe with more dates. And we have an idea to create a sort of fan club, a thing that personally I consider ridiculous, insomuch as we've thought to call it The Ear Lodge because it'll born here, in Italy, the quintessential country of Mafia...".

EB: "But why in England indie's are not interested into producing your music?"
GS: "In London, if you haven't got an hit in the charts you doesn't exist, believe me, and as you can easily understand we cannot have any 'song' in the charts. Our music didn't have any chance to be played live in England because the so-called "underground" is that Sixties 'archeological' kind of music, just interested into the past on a discographical level. Just to make moneys... In this sense, a real English "underground"  doesn't exist now, because every expression is conditioned by the big record companies".

EB: "What did you do before this unexpected reunion?"
GS: "Nothing of interesting. Everyone of us had a normal job. All over those years, me and Paul Minns was experimenting, playing Indian music...".

EB: "What's happenend just after "Macbeth", your last record produced by E.M.I.?"
GS: ""Macbeth" is been our best commercial opportunity. At the same time it's been our definitive 'debacle'. The Polansky's film, our potential vehicle, basically had a very bad promotion and it was a disaster. Now the soundtrack is a rarity for collectors, by now deleted. After the album, we played some gigs, but we had lost our self-assourance and in Blackhill, so we decided to split up the band".

EB: "What's happened to the other TEB musicians?"
GS: "Well, as you can see, me and Paul have been in contact for all those years... About Ursula Smith, I know she is married and she has got some children: I think she plays now country & western music somewhere... About Richard Coff, I've lost track of him... probably he came back to America. Just after "Macbeth", he tried to form an acoustic band with Ursula, a band called Cosmic Overdose, but nothing happened, just few performaces in London Hyde Park".

EB: "Where have you met the new Thirds?"
GS: "Violin player Allen Samuel is a Dave Tomlin's  pupil, a great friend of mine. He has had academic training playing at the Albert Hall. Mick Carter, the guitar player, is an old friend of mine since the Hydrogen Jukebox, the band I formed about 1974, after "Macbeth"".

EB: "Did you record anything with that band?"
GS: "The main idea was to change our music, composing proper pop songs, and at the end we made a master for a record never realised. At the moment Luca Ferrari has got it and we are planning to realised it at the right time. Maybe now it's the right time, considering the new interest for the Sixties, but I don't know... We will see...".

EB: "Can you tell more about the Hydrogen Jukebox?"
GS: "What can I say... It's very different from TEB music, it's just another thing! Maybe listening to the record you'll think to the Doors, even if is not the best comparation. Most of all, the lyrics are really interesting: they talk about political and social situation of England at that time, that to be honest it's not too changed... Something of those lyrics, anyway, will be published on a book Luca is going  to write next year...".

EB: "A very lot of things for a band reported as dead!"
GS: "Yes, it's really incredible to think... These are the oddities of this world! It took not much to resurrect us, and it's been a real surprise to discover all this interest in Italy. On December I hope we'll  come back here, I really love your country...".

no©2010 Luca Ferrari

No comments:

Post a Comment